All Hallows Church, Bardsey, contains one to the best surviving Anglo-Saxon buildings in West Yorkshire. The core of the present church was built over a thousand years ago, most probably between 800 and 825, and consists of the lower section of the tower and parts of the central nave walls. The upper portions of the tower, excluding the parapet, are of later Saxon origin and were built during the tenth century. At this time the church consisted of a west porch, narrow nave and tiny chancel.
The period between 1100 and 1400 saw the adding, and the later widening, of a north and south aisle and the moving of a Norman doorway to its present position at the west end of the south aisle. This magnificent Norman doorway is now partly obscured by the much later addition of a porch but still clearly shows the architectural typical features of early Norman construction.
A north chapel, which now serves as the Vicar’s Vestry, was built in 1521 as a Chantry Chapel at the request of Edmund Mauleverer of Wothersome, and he and his son Robert were interred beneath it. It is difficult to appreciate the architecture of this area of the church because much of the space is filled by a pipe organ. This was installed in 1868 in place of a small orchestra of wind and stringed instruments, which had provided music in church during the early part of the nineteenth century.
A second south chapel, which now serves as a choir vestry, was added during the eighteenth century for Lord Bingley of nearby Bramham Park. The descendents of Lord Bingley, the Lane Fox family, have continued the family connection with All Hallows' and three of their funeral hatchments now hang on the south wall of the north aisle.
In the early nineteenth century the walls of the nave and chancel were considerably raised and low-pitched roofs with flat plastered ceilings installed. Clerestory windows were inserted in the wall above the south arcade and the whole church was plastered. Many other “improvements” during this period completely altered the character of this medieval building. In the years between 1909 and 1913 more changes were made, this time to try to recapture the medieval character of the interior; the wall-plaster was removed, floors were raised and repaired, and ancient architecture was uncovered and displayed. Electric light was installed in 1930, and an oak reredos installed in 1933. The southwest corner of the church was refurbished in 1986 to create a reception/display area, incorporating a memorial to the Revd. Bernard Russell, former Vicar of Bardsey. Pews were removed and the Saxon arch to the tower highlighted.
The most recent addition to All Hallows is the Bardsey Millennium Tapestry, which is hung at the west end of the north wall of the church. Created by many people from the village, the four panels of the tapestry, each one reflecting one of the four seasons, picture a wide variety of village life and village people at the turn of the millennium.
All but the most recent records of the church records are in the care of the Leeds City Archivist, as are other registers and ancient documents. Three published works on the village are: -
Bardsey cum Rigton, Church and Village. J Wreghitt Connon, (1909)
All Hallows Church, Bardsey, George E Kirk, (1937)
The History of Bardsey, Judith Unwin, (2007)
If you are searching for your Bardsey ancestors we may be able to help you - contact the Parish Office.